The minimalism philosophy applies to all areas of our lives, including finances, but as you know, sticking to a minimalist budget is not always a walk in the park. That is why knowing which ideas and principles can help you stick to your minimal lifestyle and budget pays off.
Here are some great financial principles that have worked for me and that can help you stick to your minimalist budget and financial lifestyle:
1. Make it a lifestyle
Minimalism has a diverse list of benefits, including but not limited to reduced stress and more time for the people and undertakings that matter the most to you. However, to enjoy these benefits, you should make it a lifestyle.
Similarly, to enjoy the benefits of your minimalist budget, you should make budgeting part of your minimalist lifestyle. The best way to do that is to practice desire vs. wanting mindfulness. Especially when moving into a new home the best option is to start minimally spending your money.
Always remind yourself that you don’t have to meet every desire. Moreover, whenever you have a want you can live without or that you can put off to a later date, then do that.
2. Remove distractions
Distractions, which are everything that takes your focus away from what is valuable and good in your life, are one of the biggest challenges you will have to overcome to stick to your minimalist budget.
For example, email subscriptions that keep alerting you on new discounts and coupons are a sure trap because the perceived idea of missing out on such an amazing offer can easily make you forget your budget and minimalist ideology.
Start by unsubscribing from such emails and deleting those shopping apps until you need something. Understand that there will always be another offer, maybe one better than the last one, and the more distracted you are from what adds value to your life, the easier it shall be to become a spendthrift and overshoot your budget.
3. Get the most out of your money by shopping during peak discount seasons (or go bargain hunting)
One of the best ways to avoid feeling like your minimalist budget is limiting and to get the most out of the money you have set for specific things is to shop during discount peak seasons.
For example, if you enjoy movies and believe getting a great sound system will add value to your life, you can set aside some money in your budget for this and then shop during the height of the black Friday and Cyber Monday discount period to get the most of your cash.
Likewise, you can get the most out of your shopping money by bargain hunting. This simple-seeming idea can make all the difference because when you grab great bargains, you won’t overspend in a specific category.
This is bound to help you stick to your budget —and perhaps even have some money left over in a particular budget category.
4. Maintain a minimum number of credit cards
A credit card can help you build excellent credit, and, as you know, excellent credit comes in handy when you need to take up mortgage loans or other forms of credit in the future.
However, having too many credit cards can affect your credit score, especially because they can give you an illusion of money you don’t have, motivating you to overspend.
It’s important to remind yourself that credit cards are loans you have to repay, often at a higher interest rate. Rotating too many cards can dig you deeper into debt, especially when you don’t have great credit utilization or fail to pay off your balances promptly.
Talking of which:
5. Pay off your balances promptly
Do your damnedest to pay off your credit balances promptly each month because failure can lower your credit score.
Fortunately, having a minimalist budget will free up money you can use to pay off loan balances promptly, thus reducing the need to accrue more consumer debt.
6. Adopt a budgeting approach you can work with daily
Most people fail to stick to a budget, not because they don’t have the willpower to stick to it, but because of using the wrong budgeting approach.
Ideally, you want to use a budgeting approach that makes it easier to track your expenditure daily so you can know how you’re spending your money and, more importantly, if you’re spending it on things that matter and that add value to your life.
You can use the 50:30:20 rule that guides you on how to allocate your income, with 50% of your after-tax income set aside for all your needs, 30% for wants, and the remaining 20% for savings, debt repayment, or investing.
Another method that works is the envelope method, where you allocate a certain budget amount to a monthly expense and put that money in an envelope. Once you spend that money, you don’t add any more to it until the next budgeting period, which can curb overspending.
Find a budgeting method that works for you, something you can track daily without feeling like it’s taking over your life.
7. Define your financial priorities
Minimalism requires you to recognize which goals to focus on first, especially regarding your money.
Start by ensuring your budget has ample budgetary allocations for all necessary bills like rent, groceries, utilities, and other fixed expenses. Clearing these bills first saves you from future struggles or additional debts because anything that is not part of these necessities can wait until you have the budget.
8. Audit your bank statements
Learning to stick to your budget doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent effort and holding yourself accountable at every point.
To do this, download all of your bank statements for a certain period, say three months, and analyze your spending. Add up all the different categories and check where most of your money goes. If it doesn’t go to things that add value to your life, consider reworking your budget and dedicating more money to things that add value and fill your life with joy.
Remember that having a budget that aligns with your minimalist values can make it easier to adopt budgeting as an integral part of your minimalistic lifestyle.
Fundamentally, you only need to be intentional with how you spend your money to stick to your minimalist budget. If a purchase doesn’t add value to your life or bring joy, remind yourself that it can’t wait or that you don’t need it. The more often you do that, the easier it shall become to stick to your minimalist budget.